Photo: Washington Department of Licensing. Used under Fair Use doctrine for journalism.

Getting real about the REAL ID Act

(Photo: Washington Department of Licensing)

Chase CharabaOnline and Social Media Manager

It’s standard airport security procedure: travelers present a TSA officer their boarding pass and a form of identification, usually their driver’s license, and continue on to a security checkpoint. That procedure is about to change now that Washington residents will no longer be allowed to use a standard driver’s license at airports.

Starting January 2018 all travelers in the United States will be required to have identification that meets 2005 federal REAL ID Act standards. This is due to the 9/11 Commission’s findings, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website.

Washington is one of only a handful of states that have not attempted to meet the new requirements.This delay in changing procedure in Washington is wrong. The state should have made the required changes when the law was first passed by Congress, not a decade later.

Currently, the state is “noncompliant” with the law, meaning that the necessary changes have not been made. Twenty-three states comply with the law and 27 others have been granted an extension until 2020, but Washington is one of five states required to meet the new standards by 2018.

This should never have happened. The state legislature has known about the law for a decade and still hasn’t acted. Now time is running out, which puts residents in a hard place. Residents shouldn’t be rushed to get a new ID before 2018. The state should have gradually enacted steps to reach the new requirements over the past decade like other states.

According to Brian J. Cantwell’s Jan. 21 article in The Seattle Times, “The law, passed in 2005 but slow to be fully adopted, requires proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of lawful status in the U.S. in order for state-issued ID to be valid for federal use such as airport security points or entering federal courthouses and other secure federal facilities.”

That means that Washington’s Enhanced Driver’s License or a U.S. passport will work as an alternative for domestic air travel, but it comes at a cost.

A normal ID renewal is $45 for five years or $54 for six years. Upgrading to an EDL costs an additional $3 per year and renewal fees cost $60 for five years and $72 for six years, according to the Washington state Department of Licensing website.

Even though the price difference isn’t all that much, residents shouldn’t have to buy a more expensive license. A new version of the standard state ID should be introduced to meet the new standards when a resident goes in to renew their ID. That way citizens wouldn’t have to fork over more money.

It should be easy enough. The state could just change the design of the new standard license so that TSA agents can differentiate between the new and old ones at airports.

The state should also send letters to all citizens informing them of the changes in licensing. That way everyone will be prepared.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

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Getting real about the REAL ID Act

by Chase Charaba time to read: 2 min